Frequently Asked Questions
What is a General Plan?
A General Plan is a comprehensive policy document that provides the general framework for all zoning and land use decisions within a community. It establishes a community’s long-term vision for the future and contains goals and policies that will shape future housing, support job growth, foster healthy and resilient neighborhoods, protect and manage natural resources, ensure community safety, and promote social and economic equity. The City’s current General Plan was last updated in 2009 (General Plan 2035). The State of California also provides guidance on the required and suggested content for General Plans. However, each community is encouraged to identify policy and program solutions in their General Plan that address local community needs and desires.
Why is the General Plan Important?
The General Plan frames the community vision for how Santa Rosa should grow and change over the coming years and decades, and needs to reflect community priorities and values while shaping this future. As the City's overarching policy document, every land use, mobility, infrastructure, program, and environmental decisions made by the City Council, Planning Commission, other commissions, and City staff needs to be consistent with the vision, goals, policies, programs, and actions included in the General Plan. Latino Service Providers' Youth Promotores recently created presentations highlighting the importance of the General Plan and why it is critical for the community to be actively involved in the update process:
Why is Santa Rosa's General Plan being updated?
Since the 2009 General Plan was adopted, Santa Rosa has experienced low housing production and increased homelessness, the destruction of housing and displacement of residents by the Tubbs fire, the impact of cannabis business activity on industrial and commercial land, and the annexation of the Roseland community into the city (an approximately 714 acre area in southwest Santa Rosa). In addition, State Law now requires the City’s General Plan to address infrastructure and service deficiencies, and environmental degradation within designated disadvantaged community areas within the city.
Because of these reasons and many others, it is a good time to discuss with the Santa Rosa community how the city should change over the coming years. For more information on the State’s requirements, visit the State of California Office of Planning and Research website, which has detailed guidelines for the development of general plans.
What is the Project Schedule?
The General Plan Update project is estimated to take three years to complete. This is due to the extensive analysis and community discussions that will take place during each major phase of the project. Please click the following links to view a detailed version of the project schedule:
What is the Community Advisory Committee (CAC)?
The Community Advisory Committee (CAC) represents a range of community interests to advise the Project Team during the development of the General Plan Update. Members include representatives from variety of organizations and perspectives including neighborhood groups, business groups, transportation and housing advocacy groups, and environmental organizations, as well as residents representing diverse perspectives, including a variety of ages and ethnicities.
CAC members will be active participants in the planning process at each stage, from visioning through adoption. The primary role of the CAC is to act as project liaisons and to encourage the wide range of Santa Rosa community members to participate in virtual and in-person project activities (e.g., community workshops, online surveys, virtual events). CAC members will also provide feedback on GPU products and help refine materials before they are presented to the greater community. More information on the CAC, including meetings and agenda packets, can be found here.
What is the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)?
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is comprised of technical experts from City departments and partner agencies that provide feedback on the project and ensure plan concepts can be achieved. The TAC will meet at key points during the process to review draft work products, advise on policy and plan development, and help the Project Team (see below) prepare for public meetings, workshops, and hearings.
Who are the Project Team?
The Project Team includes lead City staff from the Planning and Economic Development Department, members of the consultant team (PlaceWorks and MIG), and Latino Service Providers. This group meets regulary to coordinate project work, organize community events, and discuss planning issues with the community and local decision makers. You can submit questions or comments to the Project Team through this online form.
How will the General Plan Update Address Environmental Justice and Social Equity?
The State of California requires each city to address environmental justice in their General Plan. The General Plan Update process includes analysis and additional background research to fully understand the needs of each neighborhood in Santa Rosa. In addition, a grant from Kaiser Permanente includes a comprehensive evaluation of community health characteristics. Both environmental justice and community health will be discussed throughout the three-year process, and policy solutions and initiatives will be included in the updated General Plan document.
What are the COVID-19 restrictions for the project?
Considering the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the City expects there will be a continued emphasis on virtual engagement due to the ongoing need for social distancing. However, the Project Team will also conduct in-person activities as the project progresses. It is possible that even if restrictions on in-person gatherings are loosened, many people may continue to choose to keep their distance and prefer methods that allow for online and telephone participation. Our community engagement experts are at the forefront of virtual meetings, online community engagement techniques, and other strategies for interacting with the community during this challenging time, and beyond. The Project Team is committed to bridging the digital divide during COVID-19 to ensure that a broad cross-section of Santa Rosa community members can access and fully participate in all engagement activities. Please click here for information on current health orders in Santa Rosa.
How is Kaiser Permanente involved in the project?
Kaiser Permanente provided the City of Santa Rosa a Healthy Communities Grant that is focused on providing additional opportunities to engage under-represented communities and develop healthy cities policies and actions. This funding has allowed the City and Project Team to add, enhance, or expand upon many of the engagement activities included in this project. Additional information is available in the Community Involvement Strategy.
How is Latino Service Providers involved in the project?
Latino Service Providers is a key partner of the City’s and will be involved in many community outreach and engagement events. Most of these activities will be centered around inclusive community outreach and youth engagement. Additional information is available in the Community Involvement Strategy.